We’re into November now, and Chelsea are entering into the busiest part of their season. The next few months will define the success of Frank Lampard’s debut campaign, and a first step on that road is the home game against Ajax in the Champions League.
That’s a change from the first game, when we were outsiders to get the job done on the continent. That win has not only put us back in a great position in the group, it’s also convinced the bookies we’re a proper force to be reckoned with this season.
It was a really gritty display, and Frank Lampard’s team looked to be happy with a 0-0 before Michy Batshuayi slammed in a late winner to turn the table on its head. We will need another disciplined showing on Tuesday, and once again there will be little margin for error against a really talented side that made a big impact in this competition last year.
This week saw a disappointing result against Manchester United, but there were several key players rested that night, and even then we put in an impressive showing an dprobably deserved to at least be level after 90 minutes. With those key man back in the team on Tuesday, we will look to build on the wave of confidence we’ve built with our wins in Lille and Amsterdam to try and pick up a third European victory on the spin and put ourselves clear at the top of the group.
It won’t be easy however, and it’s vital we don’t let it distract us from this weekend’s game against Watford. The Hornets are still without a win this season, but complacency is always the enemy in these situations, and dropping points against the bottom team in the league would be as big a blow as slipping up in Europe.
As we’ve noted before, Frank Lampard’s flexibility in terms of formation and personnel has already come in very handy this season, and we could well see quite different systems against our next two opponents.
Watford will sit very deep and defensive, and Frank might throw Ross Barkley into the mix to give one of his midfielders a rest. Callum Hudson-Odoi may also feature this weekend and then sit out the game at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday if the manager wants to play Mason Mount on the left of a more structured team.
Against Ajax however, a totally different approach will be needed.
The options are there for our coach, with in form players all over the pitch pushing for minutes. It’s up to him to pick the optimum lineup in both games to try and start this vital stretch with maximum points.